Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Belgium outclass Ireland

Published:Sunday | June 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM

BORDEAUX, France (AP):

After a poor start to the European Championship, Belgium began living up to their promise yesterday with a resounding 3-0 victory over Ireland.

Romelu Lukaku scored two second-half goals as Belgium's much-vaunted attack finally sprang to life after a disappointing display in the opening 2-0 loss to Italy.

Lukaku struck in the 48th minute after a swift counterattack that owed much to Kevin De Bruyne's burst down the right flank. Lukaku controlled De Bruyne's square pass before driving the ball low into the bottom left corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Axel Witsel doubled the score in the 61st when he jumped above Ireland midfielder James McCarthy to crisply head in Thomas Meunier's cross for his first international goal in nearly two years.

Ireland went on the attack in an attempt to claw back the arrears, but the team was once again caught out by a pacy Belgian counterattack. Eden Hazard raced down the right from inside his own half before squaring for Lukaku, who slotted the ball past Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph in the 70th.